Decorative Symbolism of the Arapaho (Google eBook)

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G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1901 - Arapaho Indians - 29 pages
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Page 332 - Ethnography, 1893. It has a yellow breast, and black in the middle, which is the yellow of the morning, and they say the black stripe is made by a smooth buffalo horn worn for a necklace.
Page iii - Arapaho art is very marked. Almost all the lines are straight. The figures in embroidery are lines, bands, rectangles, rhombi, isosceles and rectangular triangles, figures composed of combinations of these, and circles. The designs painted on hide are composed of triangles and rectangles in different forms and combinations. On questioning the Indians it is found that many of these decorative figures have a meaning.
Page 329 - ... explanation than the phenomenon it explained. By isolating any tendency that we find in any art, we are led to imagine a purely ideal condition which not only could not have been the original state of the art, but is probably even more different from its original state than from its present known state. In short, it is impossible to determine the origin of any art whose history we do not know.
Page 331 - ... etymological tendency, finally, is revealed in the following extract from a Dakota myth ' : An old couple have adopted a foundling. When he grows up he is so successful in killing buffalo that he makes his parents very rich in dried meat. "Then the old man said: ' Old woman, I am glad we are well off. I will proclaim it abroad.
Page 335 - ... causes unaltered but for wear and tear to the present day. The fundamental error of the common anthropological method of investigating origins is that it isolates phenomena and seeks isolated specific causes for them. In reality ethnic phenomena do not exist separately. They have their being only in culture. Much less can the causative forces of the human mind, the activities or tendencies, be truly isolated.1 In Dr. Kroeber's exposition of the matter, we have a view of the primitive consciousness...
Page 333 - ... personal adornment, decorative art, were all either motor, utilitarian, or aesthetic in origin according to the point of view of the writer. More recent methods of scientific investigation have led ethnologists to a different view of the situation. Dr. Kroeber clearly states this change and so I quote: Every explanation of an origin in anthropology is based on three processes of thought which are unobjectionable logically but are contrary to evolutionary principles and the countless body of facts...
Page 335 - are both eternally living and everlastingly changing. They flow into one another; they transform themselves; they are indistinguishably combined where they coexist." Kroeber's approach to the nature of culture was twofold. On the one hand, he characterized cultures by means of culture element lists, that is, in terms of the minutia of their content.
Page iii - Published by permission of the Trustees of the American Museum of Natural History.
Page 335 - ... as it had before sprung up and that its product has remained unaffected by other causes unaltered but for wear and tear to the present day. The fundamental error of the common anthropological method of investigating origins is that it isolates phenomena and seeks isolated specific causes for them. In reality ethnic phenomena do not exist separately. They have their being only in culture. Much less can the causative forces of the human mind, the activities or tendencies, be truly isolated.1 In...
Page 329 - Different objects may then have been represented, other ornamental motives employed in other materials, but even then there certainly was the combination of ideographic symbolism with crude, heavy decoration. As we go farther backward in time, we can be sure that the details of the art were more and more different from those of its present condition. Now perhaps one of its component tendencies was relatively stronger, then another. But whatever these temporary slight...

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